Kalecki on full employment

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Sat Oct 10 17:38:40 PDT 1998

Michael Cohen wrote:

> Also Kalecki argues that full employment might be in the actual
>interest of the Capitalist class and they may realize it. He also shows
>why they might not favor a government favoring full employment. I looked
>at BLS for the last 20 years or so and Sweden reported about a 2%
>unemployment rate until recently. The same was true for Japan whose reported
>is now slightly lower than the US at 4.3% . Sweden was the same until the
>mid 90s when it started to get into serious economic difficulty.
>Kalecki's theoretical argument is reasonable and may represent an economic
>but it is false to fact assuming the Bureau of Labor Statistics data is valid.
>Given this
>is the case, one might use this tendency along with other factors to try to
>predict the
>unemployment rate. As it stands it would be a mistake to assume that
>under all circumstances other than war or a fascistic regime cannot have full

Have you looked at Swedish unemployment lately? In its glory days, Swedish social democracy did exert substantial influence over the labor market, for sure - it was a great victory. But since the 1970s, capital has been on the offensive, and the model has now been dismantled. In Japan, there's long been a large pool of contingent (disproportionately female) labor that could be shed in down cycles, a fact the unemployment rate disguised.


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